December 5th, 2013
AP European History
Francis Bacon was an English thinker who supported the inductive or experimental method: observation of natural phenomena; accumulating data; experimenting to refine data; drawing conclusions; and formulating principles. Bacon led an extraordinary varied life. He was a lawyer, official in the government of James I, historian, and an essayist. The one thing he didn't do in his life, it seems, was performing scientific experiments. What he did contribute to science was the experimental methodology. In his major works, Bacon attacked medieval scholasticism with its belief that the body of knowledge was basically complete and that the only task left to scholars was to elaborate on existing knowledge. Bacon argued that rather than rely on tradition, it was necessary to examine evidence from nature. Bacon's greatest legacy was his thinking based on the understanding that new knowledge led to the improvement of human condition.
Francis Bacon has been regarded as the Father of Empiricism and of experimentation in science. He wasn't a natural philosopher, except in the most amateur way. His real accomplishment was setting an intellectual tone and helping create a climate favorable to scientific work. Bacon attacked scholasticism and aristotelianism in his works. He believed scholastic thinkers paid too much attention to tradition and to the knowledge of the ancients. He encouraged people to search a new understanding of nature instead of depending on the past. He was one of the major European writers to champion innovation and change. Unfortunately, Francis Bacon did not have an impact on philosophical thought until the Restoration period in England during the end of the seventeenth century. In the nineteenth century his emphasis on induction was revived by scholars of the time.[1: . The Western heritage: since 1300. 9th ed.]
Francis Bacon was...